Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 June 2019

Gareth Southgate backs England to bounce back from Netherlands woe against Switzerland

Changes expected in side after Thursday's loss to the Netherlands in the Uefa Nations League

Gareth Southgate wants an improved effort from England against Switzerland. AFP
Gareth Southgate wants an improved effort from England against Switzerland. AFP

Gareth Southgate is encouraged by the response of his England players after they suffered further semi-final heartache in the Uefa Nations League on Thursday.

They lost 3-1 in extra-time to the Netherlands in Guiramaes and will face Switzerland in Sunday's third-place play-off, but Southgate believes this is just the next step in their journey for silverware in the future.

Speaking on Saturday, he said: "We are at the stage now where as a team we are close to getting into finals and the opportunities to win trophies, but we haven't got there yet so everybody is disappointed with that throughout the camp.

"What is encouraging is that it is very clear that the players are highly motivated as we go forward that they know that we have to be spot-on with the way we prepare, so I've seen positive signs within that response and absolutely we should be disappointed with the outcome.

"The match will be different to the semi-final. We want to finish the season on a good note."

Southgate confirmed he will make changes for the Switzerland clash but was tight-lipped on the position of centre-back John Stones, who was at fault for two of the goals on Thursday evening.

Southgate added: "We'll probably have to make some changes. We've got doubts over (Ben) Chilwell, (Marucs) Rashford, (Jordan) Henderson. There's a few more to check. I don't want to make wholesale changes.

"We lost an important game on Thursday. We've got thousands of fans here and we have to make sure our performance is one that gives them something back. Every time we take the field, we are learning. No England international is a practice match."

Jesse Lingard was denied a goal by Video Assistant Referee (VAR) which would have put England 2-1 ahead with seven minutes remaining against Holland, but Southgate applauded its use despite the setback.

He said: "I think with VAR, the big calls in the Champions League and in the game the other night were correct. So we have no complaints about the way it was used.

"It went against us this time. None of their players thought it was offside, but of course it was and unfortunately we didn't get the call on that occasion."

Joe Gomez was the player that was put forward in front of the media, which hints that the Liverpool defender could be in line to start against Switzerland.

Gomez helped Liverpool secure their sixth Uefa Champions League crown with a 2-0 win over Tottenham last week but, despite not featuring during England's 3-1 loss on Thursday, he is motivated to make amends by defeating Switzerland.

He said: "I think it's easy really (to be motivated to play for England). It's never to be taken for granted to play for your country. I'm still early in my England career and I'm definitely a long way from losing my desire to play for my country.

"It's an important game that's going to be difficult. They've got top-quality players. It's still a game to challenge for. We're in a position where there's four teams in the finals for a reason."

Updated: June 8, 2019 05:11 PM

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